Wednesday, April 25, 2012

EEOC Issues Historic Ruling: Transgender Americans Protected Under Title VII


In an unprecedented federal ruling, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) determined earlier this week that workplace discrimination on the basis of a person’s gender identity or expression violates the federal prohibition on sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC’s ruling states, “intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender is, by definition, discrimination ‘based on … sex’ and such discrimination … violates Title VII.”

The EEOC decision was a response to a discrimination complaint filed by the Transgender Law Center on behalf of their client, Mia Macy. Macy was passed over for a job with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) for which she was uniquely qualified after her future employers learned of her gender identity.

In a recent statement, Macy expressed her feelings about the case: “Although the discrimination I experienced was painful both personally and financially, and led to the loss of my family’s home to foreclosure, I’m proud to be a part of this groundbreaking decision... No one should be denied a job just for being who they are.”

EEOC’s decision gives the reassurance of federal protections to a reported 90% of transgender and gender non-conforming people who reported experiencing at least one form of harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job because of their gender identity in 2011. The ruling is binding on all federal agencies, EEOC’s 53 offices nationwide, and public and private employers, including those in the 34 states with no laws protecting gender identity and expression.

To learn more about this historic ruling, and what it means for trans rights, please be sure to join our friends at the Transgender Law Center tonight at 5:30 PT/8:30 ET, for a celebratory community conference call. Special guest, Mia Macy, whose case was the reason for the ruling will be featured on the call, and legal experts will share what this ruling means for transgender and gender non-conforming people and their families nationwide. To register, click here.

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